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Analysis

Literary Devices in Henry IV Part 1

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

King Henry and Prince Hal sure do like their references to celestial bodies – what's the deal? Let's take a peek at some specific moments in the play. When Prince Hal confides in the audience...

Setting

In the play's opening scene, King Henry remarks that his messenger's horse has been "stain'd with the variation of each soil" as it travelled from Northumberland to London to deliver news of a batt...

Genre

Literary critics refer to Henry IV Part 1 as a "history play." We know what you're thinking. What the heck does that mean? Can we use the play to study for our quiz on Elizabethan history? Does "hi...

Tone

When we talk about Shakespeare's history plays, we often think serious subject matter = serious tone, right? After all, the history plays dramatize important matters of state. Henry IV Part 1, for...

Writing Style

In general, the play splices together two very different language styles."High" styleIn the play, blank verse (unrhymed iambic pentameter) is reserved for the nobles and high matters of state. Not...

What's Up With the Title?

You know the answer to this one. The play is so named because it's the first part of two plays about events that go down during the reign of King Henry IV.Fun Fact: The publisher of the second 1598...

What's Up With the Ending?

Even though the king's victory at Shrewsbury brings a distinctive sense of closure to the play, it's also fair to say the ending of Henry IV Part 1 has a major "to be continued" vibe. (In fact, the...

Tough-o-Meter

We know that Shakespeare can be a little rough – what with the Elizabethan language, double plot line, the dizzying geographical coverage, and the large cast of characters (who've all got, li...

Plot Analysis

King Henry wants to lead a crusade to Jerusalem to make amends with God. His son, Prince Hal, is next in line for the throne.The king's exhausted from civil war (a problem his rebellion and deposit...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Tragedy

Typically, Henry IV Part 1 is seen as a play that fits into the genre of a "History Play," with Prince Hal as a protagonist at the center of the story. But, if we think of the play in terms of Chri...

Three Act Plot Analysis

Monarchy can be such a drag. King Henry, who's feeling guilty about deposing and then murdering King Richard II, wants to make up with God by leading a crusade. Too bad border wars with Wales and S...

Trivia

Falstaff was originally named "Oldcastle," but the descendants of the historical Sir John Oldcastle pitched a fit. So, Shakespeare had to change the name of his fat, disgraceful knight to "Falstaff...

Steaminess Rating

There's no sex on stage in Henry IV Part 1, at all. Come to think of it, Hotspur's wife makes a very big deal out of the fact that she's neglected by her husband, who's too busy fantasizing about g...

Allusions

Raphael Holinshed, The Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland, Volume 3Anonymous, The Famous Victories of Henry VSamuel Daniel, The First Four Books of the Civil WarsKing Henry IV (1367-1413)P...
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